How Independent Registered Investment Advisors Transform Financial Planning

Independent RIAs are breaking away from traditional broker-dealer and insurance company affiliations.  Breaking away takes vision and hard work, but the rewards are compelling. Learn four ways independent RIAs are redesigning their work and serving clients better.

Access to the Best Solutions

RIAs such as Frederick Baerenz offer the widest array of solutions to help clients achieve their financial goals. Whether it’s an insurance policy, investment strategy or retirement plan, advisors can use the power of independence to meet their client’s needs and exceed their expectations. Unlike broker-dealers and wirehouses, independent RIAs don’t have to adhere to the lowest common denominator. They can choose technology, investments and lending platforms that best meet their clients’ needs.

Personalized Service

Affirming their independence can allow advisors to tailor their offerings and services to the niches and specialties that best serve clients. Independent RIAs like Fred Baerenz can work with the entire universe of money managers, TAMPs, custodians, and prime brokers, giving them more control over how to meet their clients’ needs. This is a big benefit for advisors who want to offer a more tailored approach and hone in on the needs of their core demographics, such as high-earning women or families with children with unique circumstances. Advisors can also choose fee-only, earning a flat or asset-based rate for their services, or commission-based, which pays them standard fees for investment transactions and financial products with their clients. In either case, RIAs who are true independent fiduciaries must act in their client’s best interest. 

Fiduciary Duty

Unlike the other four main advisor models, only the RIA owner model confers true fiduciary duty. This is a vital distinction, as it can help you choose the best advisor to help with your financial goals. Those held to fiduciary standards must always act in your best interest. They must disclose conflicts of interest fully and eliminate them when possible.

In contrast, financial professionals who are not fiduciaries operate under a more loosely regulated standard called the suitability rule. This can allow them to steer you into investments that earn higher commissions, even if they aren’t in your best interests. It’s important to find an advisor who is a fiduciary to ensure you are working with someone whose sole focus is on your success.


Many advisors are considering a move to independence, whether employed by a wirehouse or independent broker-dealer (IBD). And while this is a big step, it can be the right move for them and their clients. The key to making the transition successful is building a robust brand. If you ask clients to leave their trusted relationships with their current IBD and entrust them with another entity, they need a positive experience to trust the transition.

To help with this, many independent RIAs invest in their branding and marketing. This includes creating a website, social media presence, and content addressing common investor concerns. They also need a platform and custodian to support their business needs and growth.

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